Installing a CMS based website

Why do I need to know how?

After you’ve done your research and know which CMS is right for you, you will need to know how to install your new CMS – but if you have never installed a dynamic website before you may have trouble installing a CMS. After reading this article installing your CMS will (hopefully) be a breeze.

Server or hosting requirements

Before you can put a CMS online there are some things you must have:

A copy of the software

First and foremost you need a copy of the software, whether the CMS is free or commercial, you should only download the CMS from the developer’s homepage – this will ensure you get the latest version with the latest features, updates and security patches.

A suitable web host

Content Management Systems are dynamic web applications, being dynamic is what makes them so useful but they also have higher requirements from a web host – they require a server-side language (PHP), a database (MySQL), FTP access and high monthly bandwidth limits. To find out if a web host offers these features, take a look at their hosting plan description page. One web host which meets these requirements that I recommend is Webfaction – I have had only good experiences with them and they have very personal customer service.

A domain name

Having a domain name such as allows the general public to access your website although you won’t magically get instant traffic, you’ll need to read an article on website marketing or traffic generation to learn about that. The .com domain extension is the most widely remembered and recognized and I highly recommend using this domain extension. You may instead decide to use a country specific domain extension like for Australian websites. A .com domain name can be purchased from GoDaddy or through your web host (although a web host will likely overcharge you for a domain name).

The installation process

All CMS should include a readme file to help you throughout the installation process – please read this file before getting started.

Now that you’ve read the readme file you’ll know that you must upload all of the CMS files to your web hosting – we’ll use FTP to do this – Filezilla is a popular FTP program. Once you have an FTP program installed, create a new website connection within the program then transfer the CMS files. If you have trouble setting up an FTP website connection, read the FAQ on your web host’s website.

Now that the files are uploaded you should navigate to your domain, you should get either an installation wizard or an error message telling you to configure a specific file. The wizard and the file both require the same information – general website information such as a title, a username and password for the owner, your database location and the database username and password. The installation process should be generally self explanatory except for the database information – you will need to collect this information from your web host.

After you’ve installed your CMS you can start writing content. You might like to install a theme or plugin, visit the CMS developer’s website to download themes and plugins.

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